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Country continues to be attractive for MNCs

China Daily | Updated: 2024-05-16 10:06
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Mercedes-Benz Group unveils its G-Class electric offroad vehicle at the 2024 Beijing International Automotive Exhibition in Beijing in April. [Photo/Xinhua]

BEIJING — China is becoming even more attractive to foreign investors, as the latest figures from the Ministry of Commerce showed that the number of newly established foreign-invested firms in the country hit 12,000 in the first quarter of 2024, up 20.7 percent year-on-year.

The upbeat sentiment was also evidenced in the 2024 Kearney Foreign Direct Investment Confidence Index, where China jumped from seventh to third place, and retained top position among emerging markets.

What has attracted so many foreign investors, including multinational corporations, to pick China is the country's massive market, premium supply chains, top-class talent pool and sound growth prospects, which were what business executives and academics mentioned the most in recent interviews.

"No company can afford to survive if it does not sell in China," Khairy Tourk, a professor of economics at the Stuart School of Business at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago, the United States, said in a recent interview.

For multinational firms, China's vast market represents tremendous opportunities and is essential for them to maintain global competitiveness.

"China has a large population and vast market space, and demand for diversified and high-end consumption is increasing day by day," said Frederico Freire Jardim, Asia president of US food giant Kraft Heinz.

Calling the Chinese market "hugely important," Ola Kaellenius, chairman of the board of management of Mercedes-Benz, said he saw great potential in the Chinese auto market, the world's biggest.

The German automaker is poised to bring into China a total of 15 new models, signaling intensified efforts to consolidate its presence in the increasingly competitive market.

Recently, many overseas organizations have upgraded their forecasts for China's economic growth. Goldman Sachs expects the Chinese economy to expand by 5 percent in 2024, up from 4.8 percent previously, while Citi raised its China GDP forecast to 5 percent from 4.6 percent.

China has become an optimal supplier for a vast array of products, owing to its efficient supply chain, convenient logistics and highly productive workforce.

"There's no supply chain in the world that's more critical to us than China," Apple CEO Tim Cook said last month in Shanghai, reiterating the company's long-term commitment to the Chinese market.

Patrick Charignon, vice-president for Asia-Pacific of EDF Renewables, a subsidiary of France's leading electric utility company EDF, said China's supply chain "perfectly" meets all the needs for making investments, and Chinese banks have also been supporting energy investment projects.

In Rugao, Jiangsu province, production lines of Swedish truck maker Scania are being built. The new factory is expected to launch production in 2025 and raise the company's global production capacity with an annual output of 50,000 trucks.

"We want to tap into the innovative power of China and also its supply chains," said Mats Harborn, president of Scania China Group.

Valeo, a world-leading auto parts supplier based in France, launched the Valeo (Shenzhen) intelligent manufacturing center last year. Zhou Song, president of Valeo China, said that currently the group has its largest research and development team in China, and has become a part of the innovation ecosystem in China's auto sector.


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